Connect with us

News Analysis

NYC Mayor pushes Christian “Death to Gays” politico for City post

Cabrera promotes the false notion that homosexuality is a mental illness. How could he serve as a leader for NYC’s mental health communities?

Published

on

Former NYC Council member Fernando Cabrera in the Bronx in 2017. Cropped from official NYC DOT photo. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

By James Finn | NEW YORK – Shortly after Uganda lawmakers passed a “life in prison” law for homosexuality, and while they debated restoring the death penalty, a Democratic politician and Christian pastor from the Bronx named Fernando Cabrera traveled there and praised them for fighting homosexuality, claiming all government officials must first be servants of the Christian God.

  • Cabrera made clear he supports harsh criminal penalties for gay people.
  • Cabrera made clear he opposes Church/State separation.
  • Cabrera made clear religious diversity is not what his God wants.
  • Cabrera endorsed dangerously ignorant claims about HIV, directly opposite to reality, claims public health experts say help encourage the spread of HIV. (For more about Cabrera’s dangerous HIV claims, see extra content at the bottom of this article.)

Will Cabrera be bringing his dangerous views to New York City government? That sounds absurd, but it looks like the answer is yes.

NYC Mayor Eric Adams insists on giving Cabrera a job in his administration

Not long ago, the newly elected Democratic mayor proposed making Cabrera, a fellow Democrat and former council member from the Bronx, head of the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health.

LGBTQ activists shouted bloody murder.

Cabrera is on the record promoting the false notion that homosexuality is a mental illness. How could he possibly serve as a leader for NYC’s mental health communities?

What was the mayor thinking?

After several days of withering criticism, Adams withdrew the proposal. But he wasn’t done. He tapped Cabrera to join a new Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnership as a “a conduit between city government, the faith-based community throughout New York City and nonprofit organization[s].”

Chi Ossé, NYC council member for Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy and Crown Heights, via his Twitter profile.

LGBTQ activists, politicians, and Christian leaders are shouting bloody murder again

Allen Roskoff, a longtime gay rights activist and Democratic Party organizer, joined a wide array of Democrats, including many faith leaders, expressing shock, saying that Cabrera serving in a faith-based government post is “equally as unacceptable as him running the mental health office.”

How is he going to deal with LGBTQ people of faith? How is he going to deal with a gay synagogue? How is he going to deal with gay Catholics? What is this mayor thinking? Has he no consideration for us? It’s a big FU to the LGBTQ community.

Equality New York asked members “to let Mayor Adams know that we will not accept any anti-LGBTQI individuals anywhere in government here in NYC.”

Councilmember Chi Ossé of Brooklyn, a member of the LGBT Caucus, told Gay City News he strongly opposes any faith-based role for Cabrera: “The Office of Faith-Based and Community Partnerships offers a powerful opportunity to build bridges between communities and strengthen the bonds of our proudly diverse city. Mr. Cabrera’s history unfortunately demonstrates that he is unfit to fulfill this role.”

Eric Adams as Brooklyn Borough President in 2020. (Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit) (CC BY 2.0)

Adams isn’t backing down. The implications are frightening.

A source told the Daily News he was in the room when out gay State Senator Brad Hoylman angrily confronted Adams about Cabrera. The source says the mayor vowed not to change his mind, saying, “This is his administration and that he can do what he wants.”

Is this Democratic Party move LGBTQ people’s worst nightmare coming true?

We’re used to opposition to equality from the Republican Party, especially now with Trumpism dominating and queer people centered in a political bullseye. We know a backlash is happening among conservatives who are trying to roll back progress, especially in the state and local levels.

We know parents are demanding books about us and by us be removed from school curriculums and libraries, often on the flimsiest of pretexts about “sexual content.”

We know queer lives in Red states are becoming more difficult, especially for transgender people. We know queer youth from all stripes of the rainbow are suffering increasing rates of bullying and calling mental health crisis lines like Trevor Project in unprecedented numbers.

The one thing we thought we could count on was Democratic Party support

I’m not claiming the sky is falling. New York City politics are a little odd. A Democratic mayor there isn’t necessarily a mainstream Democrat. Adams’ support of Cabrera could be a one-off, bizarre effect of City politics. Or not.

Adams is a savvy politician.

If he thinks he can ram Cabrera’s appointment through despite organized Democratic opposition — and it looks like he will — then he must believe Democratic voters will ultimately have his back.

That’s the nightmare.

If Adams is right, he might have just normalized homophobia in the Democratic Party.

Cabrera’s positions reveal him to be deeply ignorant with respect to HIV policy, dangerously un-American in his rejection of secular government ideals, anti-Christian in his embrace of harsh punishment for gay people, and entirely unsuited to be a leader in the Democratic Party.

Cabrera’s views line up point by point with those of hardline Trump Republicans.

I don’t know much about Mayor Adams other than that many Democrats in NYC are leery of his conservative politics, but if he insists on appointing a reactionary anti-LGBTQ religious fanatic to his administration, then queer people’s worst nightmares have started to come true.

Will American politics continue to reflect a regressive backlash against acceptance and equality? Will the Democratic Party no longer be welcoming or safe for LGBTQ people?

The jury is out. Stay tuned.

Extra content: Details about Cabrera’s false claims about HIV in Uganda —

Fernando Cabrera is dead wrong about Uganda’s “Christian” government reducing HIV infection rates, which remain among the highest in Africa. In the video where Cabrera praised Uganda’s harsh anti-homosexuality laws, he claimed Ugandan Christian leadership was responsible for a dramatic reduction in HIV cases, saying the reduction happened, “because the righteous are ruling.”

His claim is dangerously counterfactual.

Uganda’s people have suffered from HIV/AIDS at higher rates than people in any other African nation except South Africa. During the period Cabrera was talking about in his speech, HIV infection rates were rising, not falling as he claimed.

Why?

Public health authorities like NCBI and WHO cite the Ugandan government’s policies stigmatizing sex work and criminalizing homosexuality as primary driving factors. The full situation is complex, but Pan-African health authorities claim that to this day the Uganda government is not effectively managing the HIV crisis. Infection rates are not falling like they are in most other African nations — like in South Africa where they are now falling dramatically.

The claims Cabrera made in his speech echo claims Ugandan leaders were making then and that they continue to make, frustrating international and Pan-African efforts to contain HIV on the continent.

For details, click this link.

********************

James Finn is a former Air Force intelligence analyst, long-time LGBTQ activist, an alumnus of Queer Nation and Act Up NY, a frequent columnist for the LA Blade, a contributor to other LGBTQ news outlets, and an “agented” but unpublished novelist. Send questions, comments, and story ideas to [email protected].

********************

The preceding article was previously published by Prism & Pen– Amplifying LGBTQ voices through the art of storytelling and is republished by permission.

Advertisement
FUND LGBTQ JOURNALISM
SIGN UP FOR E-BLAST

Research/Study

Race & LGBTQ+ issues negatively impact K-12 classrooms

50% of K-12 teachers say students shouldn’t learn about gender but should learn that the legacy of slavery still impacts Black Americans

Published

on

Los Angeles Blade graphic

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – As debate rages over K-12 classroom curriculum nationally over forced outing of trans students and accompanying bathroom bans, coupled with bans on books that deal with race and LGBTQ+ issues, a recent survey by Pew Research found that a sizeable share of teachers (41%) say these debates have had a negative impact on their ability to do their job.

Pew researchers found that 71% of teachers say teachers themselves don’t have enough influence over what’s taught in public schools in their area.

In turn, a majority of teachers (58%) say their state government has too much influence over this. And more say the federal government, the local school board and parents have too much influence than say they don’t have enough.

The survey of 2,531 U.S. public K-12 teachers was conducted from Oct. 17-Nov. 14, 2023, and also includes some findings from a survey of U.S. teens ages 13 to 17 and a survey of U.S. adults.

Key Findings of those two groups includes:

  • 38% of teens say they feel comfortable when topics related to racism or racial inequality come up in class (among those who say these topics have come up). A smaller share (29%) say they feel comfortable when topics related to sexual orientation or gender identity come up.
  • Among the American public, more say parents should be able to opt their children out of learning about LGBTQ issues than say the same about topics related to race (54% vs. 34%).

The Pew researchers also asked public K-12 teachers what they think students should learn in school about two topics in particular:

  • Whether the legacy of slavery still affects the position of Black people in American society today.
  • Whether a person’s gender can be different from or is determined by their sex at birth.

The legacy of slavery

Most teachers (64%) say students should learn that the legacy of slavery still affects the position of Black people in American society today.

About a quarter (23%) say students should learn that slavery is part of American history but no longer affects the position of Black people in American society. Just 8% say students shouldn’t learn about this topic in school at all.

Majorities of elementary, middle and high school teachers say students should learn that the legacy of slavery still has an impact on the lives of Black Americans, the researchers found.

Gender identity

When it comes to teaching about gender identity – specifically whether a person’s gender can be different from or is determined by their sex assigned at birth – half of public K-12 teachers say students shouldn’t learn about this in school.

A third of teachers think students should learn that someone can be a boy or a girl even if that is different from the sex they were assigned at birth.

A smaller share (14%) say students should learn that whether someone is a boy or a girl is determined by their sex at birth.

Views differ among elementary, middle and high school teachers. But teachers across the three levels are more likely to say students should learn that a person’s gender can be different from their sex at birth than to say students should learn gender is determined by sex at birth.

Most elementary school teachers (62%) say students shouldn’t learn about gender identity in school. This is much larger than the shares of middle and high school teachers who say the same (45% and 35%).

How teachers’ views compare with the public’s views

Like teachers, Americans overall are more likely to say parents should be able to opt their children out of learning about sexual orientation or gender identity (54%) than to say they should be able to opt their children out of learning about racism or racial inequality (34%).

Across both issues, Americans overall are somewhat more likely than teachers to say parents should be able to opt their children out.

Researchers also found that most teachers who’ve been teaching for more than a year (68%) say the topics of sexual orientation and gender identity rarely or never came up in their classroom in the 2022-23 school year. About one-in-five (21%) say these topics came up sometimes, and 8% say they came up often or extremely often.

Topics related to racism or racial inequality come up more frequently. A majority of teachers (56%) say these topics came up at least sometimes in their classroom, with 21% saying they came up often or extremely often.

Continue Reading

Research/Study

Problematic new “Finnish study” shows trans care saves lives

The study is being used to claim that trans care is not lifesaving. Experts say this is false- the study itself shows trans care saves lives

Published

on

EIM/Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Erin Reed | HELSINKI, Finland – A new study in Finland, which is garnering attention among anti-trans activists, is being used to claim that gender-affirming care “is not lifesaving.” Journalist Benjamin Ryan explicitly stated this claim when discussing his article published in The New York Post.

However, leading researchers, including Dr. Meredithe McNamara from the Yale University School of Medicine and epidemiologist Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, argue that the study’s methodology fails to support this conclusion.

They point out critical flaws, such as the study controlling for the variable it aims to measure and relying on outdated data from a time before “gender dysphoria” was even recognized as a diagnosis. Moreover, a detailed examination of the study reveals that, despite these issues, gender-affirming care likely reduces the risk of suicide—those who do not receive care face a risk three times higher than controls. Surprisingly, the study’s authors do not address this finding.

The new study examines Finnish health data from 1996 to 2022, exploring the connection between gender-affirming care and suicide. Numerous studies have demonstrated that gender-affirming care significantly reduces suicidality, with some showing a decrease in suicidality by up to 73%.

However, this study introduces an additional factor: visits to psychiatric specialists. It concludes that, after adjusting for psychiatric specialist visits, the suicide rates among those who undergo medical gender reassignment “did not statistically significantly differ from that of controls.” Therefore, the study asserts that the data “does not support the claims that [medical gender reassignment] is necessary to prevent suicide.”

Shortly after publication, nearly every organization opposed to gender affirming care publicized the findings widely. Genspect, an organization which has engaged in online teasing of transgender youth, stated the study put the “suicide myth” to rest.

Transgender Trend used the study to claim that “medical transition is ineffective in preventing suicide.” Leor Sapir of the Manhattan Institute used the study to claim “the suicide narrative is baseless.” Meanwhile, journalist Benjamin Ryan published a story in the New York Post and claimed the study showed “gender-transition treatment is not life saving.”

A closer examination of the study reveals that it does not support such conclusions. Now, in a thorough and comprehensive fact-check, leading experts refute these assertions by highlighting critical flaws that directly oppose these claims.

Ultimately, despite these shortcomings, the study actually suggests that gender-affirming care is lifesaving. This is despite statistical missteps and issues with data sources which, whether intentionally or not, obscure the conclusion supported by the extensive body of research indicating that gender-affirming care saves lives and decreases suicidality.

The Study Looks At Data From Before “Gender Dysphoria” Existed As A Diagnosis And Likely Includes Many People Who Are Not Transgender

The majority of data within the Finish study does not actually look at gender dysphoria, but instead looks at gender identity clinic referrals from 1996 to today. Importantly, gender dysphoria did not exist as a diagnosis until 2013. Prior to 2013, “gender identity disorder” covered a broad range of gender-related issues and was considered pathological in nature. People referred to a gender identity clinic prior to 2013 could include, for instance, feminine boys or masculine girls whose gendered behavior did not conform to social standards of the time.

Importantly, prior to 2013, you did not need to desire “to be the other sex” in order to be diagnosed with gender identity disorder. Gender dysphoria as a diagnosis in the DSM-V, however, now requires this desire. You can see the new criteria here:

In the new Finish study, this is particularly problematic because the vast majority of people included in the study do not obtain gender affirming care – only 38% do. Though we do not know how many people referred fell under the old diagnostic criteria or the new diagnostic criteria, this suggests that many likely did not identify as transgender.

This could have been partially controlled for, according to Dr. McNamara, by including a “year of diagnosis” variable, to account for changes in diagnostic criteria, but such a variable was not included.

The Study Overcontrolled For Suicide In A Fatal Way

A central assertion of the study is that suicide rates are unaffected by gender dysphoria or gender-affirming care. To support this claim, the authors control for visits to psychological specialists. Dr. McNamara, however, identifies this as a critical flaw “amounting to a tautology.” Essentially, by adjusting for suicide in research aimed at determining the effect of gender-affirming care on suicide, the authors inadvertently controlled for the very outcome they sought to measure. This is because individuals at higher risk of suicide are more likely to have had “psychiatric contact.”

In an illustrative example, Dr. McNamara compares controlling for psychiatric contact in a study on suicide to controlling for variables such as “hours worked” in a study on the gender pay gap and using it to claim that a gender pay gap does not exist. If women work less hours due to gendered expectations, then controlling for hours worked “controls for the pay gap itself because they are so intrinsically connected.” Despite this, there have been similar attempts to over-control for the gender pay gap in order to try to erase claims that it exists.

One can imagine several more examples of controlling for variables that actually measure the outcome. If one wanted to erase the impact of CO2 on climate change, for instance, you could control for ice thickness and claim that it’s actually polar ice that determines the temperature of the earth rather than CO2 output, even though ice thickness and temperature are intrinsically connected. If you wanted to erase the impact of smoking on death, you could control for specialist doctor visits while claiming that “it’s actually visits to the doctor that predict death, not smoking.”

Therefore, it’s not surprising that the study concludes psychological specialist visits correlate with suicide deaths, causing the connection with gender-affirming care and gender dysphoria to seemingly vanish. This overlooks the evident fact that those at higher risk of suicide are indeed more likely to have interactions with psychological specialists and amounts to a critical flaw in the article’s central premise.

The Paper Still Shows Trans Care Saves Lives

While the vast majority of the article only looks at those referred to Finland’s gender identity clinic, the impact of gender affirming care is tucked away in one paragraph and is the only part of the results section where the researchers do not include a table comparing the model with and without psychological referrals.

See the following excerpt (emphasis added):

To explore the role of GR, models accounting for sex, year of birth, and psychiatric treatment were repeated by dividing the GR group into those who had and those who had not proceeded to GR. Adjusted HRs for all-cause mortality were 1.4 (95% CI 0.6 to 3.3; p=0.5) in the GR- group and 0.7 (95% CI 0.2 to 2.0; p=0.5) in the GR+ group, as compared with the controls. Adjusted HRs for suicide mortality were 3.2 (95% CI 1.0 to 10.2; p=0.05) and 0.8 (95% CI 0.2 to 4.0; p=0.8), respectively.

Essentially, the paragraph states that for suicide, those who did not receive gender affirming care saw a 3x higher suicide rate than controls – and this is with overcontrolling for psychological treatment visits. Those who did receive care had no significant difference in suicide rates from controls. Dr. Meyerowitz-Katz, epidemiologist, stated of these findings, “The authors in their discussion focus on the fact that this difference was not statistically significant (presumably the p-value was 0.051-0.054), but that’s not a useful distinction. There’s a lot of uncertainty here, but the increased risk is still remarkable!”

Notably, this is the only section where the researchers withhold the model that doesn’t include visits to psychological specialists. It’s likely that the correlation between receiving gender-affirming care and a decreased suicide risk would be even more pronounced in a model free from the issue of overcontrolling.

If the researchers had presented such a finding, it would fundamentally challenge the basis of their paper… that gender-affirming care indeed saves lives. Even in attempts to dilute this relationship with confounding variables, the signal around gender affirming care remains strong!

Additional Major Limitations And Issues

Several other shortcomings challenge anti-trans interpretations of the study. Although the study discusses adolescents, the median referral age is 19, with more than half of the participants older than this. While 19-year-olds technically fall within the “adolescent” category, the discourse around gender-affirming care predominantly centers on individuals under 18 and the importance of early intervention. For the population examined in the study, many of the critical effects of puberty and unaddressed gender dysphoria would have already manifested. Consequently, the study lacks any basis to assert the impact of gender affirming care on trans youth.

The study also asserts that “gender dysphoria does not seem to predict suicide mortality” and organizations like SEGM handwave the positive gender affirming care findings by stating that suicide is “low” for gender dysphoric trans people. On a cursory glance, one might accept this claim – only 20 suicides are recorded in the Finnish dataset. However, this claim stretches far beyond what the study can actually conclude, as it solely focuses on individuals who have been formally referred for specialized gender identity services.

This approach neglects a significant portion of the population: youths with non-affirming parents, those who haven’t disclosed their gender identity to their parents, and individuals not seeking a formal diagnosis – all groups that may be much more likely to experience suicide. Claims suggesting low suicide rates among those with gender dysphoria overlook transgender individuals in unsupportive environments, who are seldom if ever recorded as “transgender” in any official death records.

Dr. Riittakerttu Kaltiala And Her History With Anti-Trans Activism

Lastly and separately from issues with the study itself, a disclosure issue exists with at least one of the study’s authors. Dr. Riittakerttu Kaltiala is the chief psychiatrist at Finland’s Tampere University Hospital and has a long history with allegations of misconduct in her hospital’s gender clinic. She has regularly been involved with the anti-trans organization SEGM and was one of the main witnesses called to defend a gender affirming care ban proposed by the Florida Board of Medicine. Notably, the Southern Poverty Law Center has mapped out extensive ties between SEGM and anti-trans extremist groups, including shared funding streams with the Heritage Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom. Similarly, the Florida Board of Medicine was stacked by Governor Ron DeSantis to ban care.

Dr. Kaltiala’s patients have shared stories of conversion therapy and abusive statements. Finnish LGBTQ+ platform, Kehrääjä, has outlined many stories of trans people’s negative experiences with Dr. Kaltiala’s clinic, including accusations of transgender identity being a fetish, telling patients that bottom surgery “seldom functions correctly,” and trans men being being denied care for being too short or having hobbies that are “too girlish.” Numerous patients report being addressed by their old names in the clinic, and Dr. Kaltiala opposes allowing trans youth to change their gender markers and IDs. Her clinic even allegedly reported a patient’s parents to child protective services and filed a criminal complaint when they obtained care legally at another clinic.

Dr. Kaltiala cannot be characterized as an impartial medical researcher; she has emerged as a key figurehead for an anti-trans movement. She has been deeply involved with many of the key players in trans care bans. She’s appeared in a podcast by Genspect, an entity known for opposing gender affirming care up to the age of 25teasing transgender children on social media, and promoting Moms for Liberty—a staunchly conservative anti-LGBTQ+ “parental rights” organization in the U.S.

In her appearance on a Genspect podcast, Dr. Kaltiala was featured alongside Stella O’Malley, founder of Genspect, who has labeled trans girls as “porn induced” fetishists and stated they warrant “no empathy.” She similarly has worked with the Catholic Medical Association’s Patrick Hunter, a Desantis-handpicked Florida Board of Medicine member who was integral to the care bans in the state.

The Study Falls Far Short Of Evidence Against Trans Care

Ultimately, the study fails to demonstrate that gender-affirming care is ineffective, particularly for transgender youth, and might even contribute to the body of evidence supporting the efficacy of such care. The study contains the same deep flaws as other research that relies on outdated diagnostic criteria from a time before “gender dysphoria” was recognized as a diagnosis and transgender identities were pathologized.

Moreover, it also overcontrolled for suicide by including a variable that is implicitly highly linked to suicide—mental healthcare visits—so as to erase the impact that gender affirming care has on suicidality.

Given that the study’s cohort predominantly consists of adults, it offers little insight into the effects of gender-affirming care on transgender youth, even without these methodological flaws. Similarly, it fails to address the experiences of transgender youth with unsupportive parents who are denied a gender identity diagnosis.

Nevertheless, the study appears to be providing anti-trans activists with exactly what they need: a study that lets them make a claim, however flimsy, that “gender affirming care does not save lives.” This narrative should be approached with skepticism, especially when propagated by individuals with ties to anti-trans groups or those involved in clinics where trans patients have reported mistreatment.

Contrary to such claims, gender-affirming care is indeed life-saving and associated with reduced rates of suicidality, even in this flawed study. Assertions to the contrary are challenged by more than 50 studies that affirm the positive impact of gender-affirming care.

***************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

The preceding post was previously published at Erin in the Morning and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Research/Study

Over 90,000 satisfied responses in trans survey

Narratives of trans regret have been prevalent in anti-trans media. A recent survey of trans people shows most are satisfied with transition

Published

on

Los Angeles Blade file graphic

By Erin Reed | WASHINGTON – The early results of the 2022 U.S. Transgender Survey are in, and they are stunning: For transgender individuals who have transitioned and are living as another gender, only 3% report lower satisfaction rates, with 79% stating they are “a lot more satisfied” after transitioning.

That number is even higher for transgender people receiving gender-affirming care – 98% of transgender individuals taking hormones are more satisfied with their lives. These numbers challenge prevailing narratives in anti-trans media that transgender people experience significant degrees of regret or resentment towards their transition, including those published in The New York Times last weekend.

The survey managed to get responses from over 90,000 transgender people – more than 3 times the responses of the 2015 survey. This number represents a significant fraction of the estimated 1.6 million transgender people in the United States, and immediately becomes the largest dataset on transgender people in history. The vast majority of these transgender people report increased satisfaction, despite an increasing number of anti-trans laws passed in recent years.

These figures contradict recent media narratives, such as those published by Pamela Paul in The New York Times, suggesting that transgender individuals regret transitioning and that transition does not enhance the lives of trans people. For instance, Paul references a detransitioner under the subhead, “The Process of Transition Didn’t Make Me Feel Better.” While it is undisputed that transition does not improve outcomes for a small number of individuals, the release of this survey following The New York Times story highlights the skewed coverage, showcasing 4,500 words of regret without so much as mentioning the words “joy” or “satisfaction” experienced by most transgender individuals.

It should be clear, following the release of this data, that detransition and regret is rare and do not represent the normal transgender experience. Even the largest of the studies by Lisa Littman, Pamela Paul’s favorite “rapid onset gender dysphoria” and detransition researcher, only could recruit 100 responses from detransitioners after medical transition, excluding a slightly larger 239-response study that also included desistance and non-medical transition. This is despite a similar sample collection method, utilizing convenience sampling in common detransition forums. If detransitioners are so common, why do they seem to be so incredibly hard to find? If regret is the prevailing narrative, why has there never been a study showing high levels of regret among transgender people?

This year, over 370 bills have targeted transgender individuals in the United States, and many of the debates surrounding these bills focus on the fear of transgender regret. Proponents of these bills use this rationale to justify banning care and show no sign of halting their efforts. In released audio of Republican legislators in Ohio and Michigan, they state that the “endgame” of this legislation is to “ban this care for everyone.” 

Related

Anti-trans documentaries, regularly published by both right-wing media outlets and mainstream journalists, often highlight trans regret. These documentaries invariably feature the same dozen detransitioners to justify these bans. The consequences of such bans on care would be severe, directly resulting in a decline in life satisfaction for the transgender individuals responding to this survey.

The release of this survey’s early results should be a clear signal that fact checkers need to interrogate claims of high regret that are not justified through the sources anti-trans journalists and columnists often cite. Publishing stories that center on transgender regret and portraying them as a common narrative distorts the reality around gender affirming care that has been found by over 50 studies and every major medical organization: that gender affirming care improves saves lives for transgender people.

Despite this, anti-trans columnists cannot seem to stop covering the stories of the 100 found in Littman’s studies while discrediting or ignoring the stories of the other 90,000.

****************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Research/Study

James O’Keefe is using Grindr to find targets for undercover videos

O’Keefe is using dating apps to find targets for undercover videos and recruiting followers to sell it as “journalism”

Published

on

Graphic by Melissa Joskow for Media Matters

By Audrey McCabe | WASHINGTON – James O’Keefe, the ousted founder of Project Veritas who is now trying to build up O’Keefe Media Group as a new outlet for his right-wing sting operations, has been targeting Democratic officials and high-level corporate employees through dating apps, luring them to meet up, and secretly recording them speaking about their jobs.

O’Keefe is also trying to recruit followers to employ the same tactics, promoting a $20 webinar and claiming that he will pay $5,000 for usable footage from fake dates with targets.

  • O’Keefe is building a new media company to release undercover footage obtained from fake dates, including targets lured on dating apps:
    • After being ousted from Project Veritas last year, O’Keefe is trying to build up O’Keefe Media Group through sting operations targeting political opponents and videotaping them on fake dates. O’Keefe has released videos of at least four sting operations that were based on footage obtained under the cover of dates. [NPR, 2/21/23; Twitter/X, 1/25/23; YouTube, 6/22/231/24/241/31/24]
    • O’Keefe has introduced a “D.C. Swamp Exposed” series, releasing two videos on January 24 and 31 that purport to expose political corruption. Both videos — the first with a Capitol Hill intern and the second with a White House cybersecurity official — were captured on fake dates, at least one of which was set up using Tinder. [YouTube, 1/24/241/31/24]
    • O’Keefe claimed, “Tinder has just gotten rid of my profile, ladies and gentlemen. Tinder has shut down James O’Keefe’s dating profile.” He then said, “I guess I’m going to use Grindr from now on.” [Twitter/X, 1/31/24
    • O’Keefe claimed that O’Keefe Media Group plans to release a new investigation every Wednesday. He also said he intends to expand the program by recruiting followers to set up their own stings. [Real America’s Voice, War Room2/1/24; Twitter/X, 10/30/23]
  • O’Keefe has been recruiting followers to pay for his “American Swiper” program, encouraging them to use dating apps for sting operations
    • In addition to his $497 “Citizen Journalism MasterClass,” O’Keefe created an “American Swiper” workshop in November for people to learn how to spot progressives and Democratic government officials on dating apps. The workshop was accompanied by a number of promotional social media posts showcasing two earlier stings that allegedly used this tactic. [O’Keefe Media Group, accessed 2/2/24; Twitter/X, 10/30/23, 10/31/23, 11/29/23]
    • O’Keefe is charging $19.95 for access to the workshop and selling “covert camera” equipment. The description for the event reads, “As the landscape of information gathering evolves, so do the tools of the trade. Swipe right into the heart of investigative reporting with this one-of-a-kind training session, crafted to equip you with the skills to covertly extract information using popular social platforms. Without the constraints of a live event, you can now delve into the art of undercover investigations at your own pace, learning how to leverage dating apps like Tinder and Bumble to unearth compelling stories.” [O’Keefe Media Group, accessed 2/2/24
    • O’Keefe has also stated that he would pay $5,000 for usable footage of dates with targets that end up getting published. He told Patriot.TV host Kristi Leigh, “I’d like to have you as an American Swiper. … We’ll pay you 5,000 bucks to go do one of these stories if we publish it.” [Twitter/X, 1/31/24]
  • O’Keefe has openly admitted to using fake dates for sting operations and said he uses dating apps to find his targets:
    • O’Keefe has promoted the American Swipers program with footage of him confronting a Pfizer employee at the end of a fake date with a member of Project Veritas. The target confirmed that they thought they were on a date, admitting, “I was trying to impress a person on a date by lying.” The video was taken while O’Keefe was still at Project Veritas, but he has since used it to promote his new outlet. [YouTube, 1/26/23; Twitter/X, 10/30/23]
    • O’Keefe seemingly had a woman target a BlackRock recruiter and later used the footage in a promotion for American Swipers, saying “some of our biggest and most impactful, hard-hitting journalism has come from undercover reporters meeting subjects this way.” The target appears to go on multiple dates with the “undercover reporter” before her identity is revealed. [Twitter/X, 6/20/2310/30/23]
    • O’Keefe went on a fake date with a Capitol Hill intern as the first installment of his “D.C. Swamp Exposed” series, and said in a Twitter/X Space, “I’ve never actually done one of these so-called guy-to-guy date meeting recordings, but I did it myself … because I want to inspire you guys to go do it yourselves.” O’Keefe wrote in a post about the date, “Sign up to be an undercover journalist with The American Swiper Program at this link.” [Twitter/X, 1/24/241/24/24]
    • For the second part of his “D.C. Swamp Exposed” video series, O’Keefe admitted to creating a Tinder profile, telling right-wing influencer and “Pizzagate” conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec: “The most extraordinary thing about the tape with the executive office of the White House guy for the executive office is that I actually used my actual name, James, on Tinder.” He also posted screenshots of the target’s Tinder profile. [Twitter/X, 1/31/241/31/24]
  • Right-wing figures are praising O’Keefe’s deceptive tactics and promoting his videos on social media:
    • Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon celebrated O’Keefe’s fake date with the White House cybersecurity official, saying, “Your investigative techniques are amazing.” He also said, “This is the most important tape, in my mind, that you’ve ever done.” [Real America’s Voice, War Room2/1/24]
    • Infowars’ Alex Jones praised O’Keefe, saying that he “needs to get an Academy Award for best actor.” Jones continued, “He dresses up as a blonde-haired, gay, trendy dude and is able to get the head White House liaison who’s over all the intelligence agencies, and cybersecurity, and the Pentagon, that gives policy advice to the president, to openly brag and say, ‘Biden has dementia, he’s an idiot, he’s our puppet.’” [Twitter/X, 1/31/24]
    • The Babylon Bee’s Ashley St. Clair celebrated O’Keefe’s January 31 video on X, posting, “Pro tip: If you are a gay man who works for the White House + your date just cant hear enough about Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, you are being James O’Keefe’d.” She went on to say, “It always amazes me how willing these suckers are to talk. You work for the WHITE HOUSE Cyber team & are just spilling it all?! A cheap vault too… just dinner and drinks!” [Twitter/X, 1/31/24]
    • Conspiracy theorist Lara Logan also shared the video and posted, “James O’Keefe does it again. Unbelievable.” [Twitter/X, 2/1/24]
    • Right-wing influencers the Hodgetwins shared O’Keefe’s January 31 video and celebrated his sting against a White House official. [Twitter/X, 1/31/24]
  • The Daily Wire’s Brent Scher posted, “The James O’Keefe gay date costume is the funniest thing to happen this year.” [Twitter/X, 1/31/24]

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Research/Study

Unstable housing for LGBTQ+ youth cited most for food insecurity

Half of the LGBTQ+ youth programs surveyed reported that over 20% of the young people did not have enough food to eat in the past week

Published

on

Typical streetside homeless encampment in the greater Los Angeles region. (Photo Credit: County of Los Angeles)

LOS ANGELES – A new report by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that 85% of LGBTQ+ youth programs surveyed said unstable housing was the main reason LGBTQ+ youth had inadequate access to food.

The programs highlighted other common causes of food insecurity among LGBTQ+ youth, including a lack of access to jobs that pay a livable wage, family food insecurity, a lack of family support, and transportation barriers.

Using data gathered from 73 LGBTQ+ youth programs affiliated with the CenterLink network or identified through a targeted internet search, researchers examined the programs’ experiences and perspectives on addressing food insecurity among LGBTQ+ youth.

Half of the LGBTQ+ youth programs surveyed reported that over 20% of the young people they serve often did not have enough food to eat in the past week. The most successful support strategies aligned with the multi-faceted needs of LGBTQ+ youth. These included providing meals or snacks directly, offering a food pantry, and giving gift cards to grocery stores or restaurants. However, strategies that required time and travel (such as referrals to off-site food pantries) or administrative hurdles (such as SNAP enrollment) were less successful.

“Community-based LGBTQ+ youth programs are feeding youth. With additional support, these organizations could grow their capacity and expand food access for LGBTQ+ youth.” said lead author Kerith J. Conron, Research Director at the Williams Institute. “While initiatives like the National School Lunch and National School Breakfast Program are reliable sources of food for millions of U.S. students, LGBTQ+ youth may not have the same opportunities to participate in them due to stigma and harassment.”

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS

  • The most frequently cited sources of food for LGBTQ+ youth were food pantries or kitchens (92%), chosen family or friends (82%), and school meals (73%).
  • Only 60% of programs identified family of origin as a food source for the youth they serve, just slightly more than the percentage (56%) who identified obtaining food through street economies, such as sex work, the drug trade, and other nontraditional exchanges.
  • Among the programs that reported providing food directly to LGBTQ+ youth, less than half (42%) offered access to food daily, and over one-third offered food less than once a week or only on a case-by-case basis.
  • When LGBTQ+ youth programs were asked about broader changes for improving youth access to food, the majority prioritized access to transitional housing (77%), affordable housing (58%), and housing vouchers for youth ages 18 to 25 (55%).
  • Programs also recommended the following broader changes:
    • Increasing the minimum wage (51%)
    • Changing SNAP eligibility criteria (43%)
    • Free or discounted transit passes (41%)
    • Changing identity document laws (30%)

Read the report

Continue Reading

Research/Study

New CDC report finds transwomen at higher risk for HIV

The demographics of HIV & AIDS have been disproportionally high, especially among Black and Latina trans women

Published

on

An exterior view of the “Tom Harkin Global Comms Center” located on the CDC's Edward R. Roybal Campus in Atlanta. (Photo Credit: CDC/GSA)

ATLANTA, Ga. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new study report this week that revealed that restricted by employment and housing discrimination and lack of access to needed gender-affirming healthcare for transgender women increased the risk of contracting HIV. 

Researchers reviewed data from a 2019-2020 survey, the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Among Transgender Women, which found that the demographics of HIV and AIDS have been disproportionally high, especially among Black and Latina trans women, who had experienced employment and housing discrimination coupled with lack of access to gender-affirming healthcare.

The January 25, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, was based on data studies of over 1,600 trans women in seven major urban locales. Participants from Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; New Orleans, LA; New York City, NY; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; and Seattle, WA. were chosen by referrals from persons and community-based organizations who knew or were part of the local population of transgender women.

The study’s researchers noted: “Employment discrimination occurs at the overlapping nexus of poverty, homelessness, incarceration, health insurance, disability, food insecurity, and survival sex work. These issues are interconnected.”

The study stated that trans women’s inability to access quality healthcare, including gender-affirming treatment or access to PrEP, and can expose them to potential incarceration as many turn to “survival sex work” and violence, which increases the risk of contracting HIV. 

The study’s author’s pointed out: “When economically marginalized transgender women are refused employment, this refusal cyclically contributes to economic hardships. This analysis…demonstrates the importance of transgender women working and living with dignity and without fear of unfair treatment.”

 

Continue Reading

Research/Study

41,000 transgender immigrants live in California

Half (50%) of transgender immigrants are ages 50 and up, compared to 14% of U.S.-born transgender people the study found

Published

on

TransLatina Coalition President Bamby Salcedo speaking at a rally in front of LA City Hall in Oct. 2023. (Photo Credit: TransLatin@ Coalition)

LOS ANGELES – A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that there are 174,200 transgender immigrants in the United States and 41,000 transgender immigrants in California, comprising over one-quarter (27%) of the state’s adult transgender population.

Most (83%) of California’s transgender immigrants have lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years. They are more likely than U.S.-born transgender people to be older, people of color, married, and have children.

Using data from the California Health Interview Survey, researchers examined the demographic, socioeconomic, and health characteristics of transgender adult immigrants in California. Results show that approximately one-quarter of transgender immigrants live in poverty (27%), and two-thirds (68%) rent rather than own their homes.

While transgender immigrants are similar in many ways to their cisgender counterparts, more than twice as many transgender immigrants reported psychological distress in the last month compared to cisgender immigrants (12% vs. 5%, respectively).

“Organizations serving immigrant communities in California should ensure that services are inclusive of transgender people, and transgender-serving organizations must think about the unique needs of transgender immigrants,” said lead author Elana Redfield, Federal Policy Director at the Williams Institute. “Interventions that address economic insecurity, housing instability, and mental health are particularly needed for the state’s transgender immigrant community.”

KEY FINDINGS


Demographics

  • Half (50%) of transgender immigrants are ages 50 and up, compared to 14% of U.S.-born transgender people.
  • A little over half (53%) of transgender immigrants identify as heterosexual, 25% identify as bisexual, 10% as gay or lesbian, and 13% identify in some other way.
  • Fewer transgender immigrants are married than cisgender immigrants (31% vs. 61%); however, more are married than U.S.-born transgender people (13%).
  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of transgender immigrants are people of color compared to just over half (52%) of U.S.-born transgender people.
    • Over one-third of transgender immigrants are Latinx (38%), one-third are non-Hispanic Asian (33%), and nearly one-third are white (29%).
  • Most transgender immigrants live in the Greater Bay Area (42%) or Southern California, other than Los Angeles (32%).
    • Transgender immigrants are less likely than cisgender immigrants to live in Los Angeles (13% vs. 33%).

Economic Well-Being and Health

  • Among people living below 200% of the federal poverty level, transgender immigrants are three times more likely to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) than cisgender immigrants (30% vs. 10%).
  • Fewer transgender than cisgender immigrants own their own homes (26% vs. 48%).
  • About one-third (33%) of transgender immigrants report poor or fair health.

“More research on transgender immigrants in California and across the U.S. is needed, including research with large enough samples to access to examine access to identity documents, experiences with immigration officials and detention facilities, as well as violence and discrimination,” said co-author Kerith J. Conron, Research Director at the Williams Institute. “Research that explores differences in health and economic security of transgender immigrants by legal status would also be valuable.”

Read the report

Continue Reading

News Analysis

Ohio governor uses anti-abortion tactic to target trans adults

DeWine announced rules to stave off a potential veto override of youth trans healthcare ban. These rules would kick most adults off their care

Published

on

Governor Mike DeWine announced a new set of rules that would severely limit trans care at any age. (Screenshot/YouTube Cleveland 19 News)

By Erin Reed | COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Friday, Governor Mike DeWine announced a new set of rules that would severely limit trans care at any age. According to the governor’s press conference, these rules would go “well beyond HB68,” the bill banning gender-affirming care for trans youth.

Under the announced restrictions on trans care, including care for trans adults, care for transgender people would have to be signed off by a psychiatrist, an endocrinologist, and a bioethicist. Furthermore, it would require the reporting of each trans diagnosis to the state. Shortly after the press conference, an announcement was posted on the Ohio Department of Health website, containing a slew of burdensome rules that appear borrowed from similar tactics used to close abortion clinics.

The rules included also included an expansive surveillance system for all trans care with no opt-out.

The rules, detailed in three separate documents on the Ohio Department of Health website, outline a series of restrictions a clinic must comply with to offer care. To provide care to a trans person of any age, a clinic must employ a psychiatrist, an endocrinologist, and a bioethicist. The bioethicist is required to complete a “comprehensive, multi-disciplinary care plan” involving services from both the psychiatrist and endocrinologist.

The first set of restrictions can be seen here:

To people not familiar with trans care, this may seem reasonable – after all, why not get the best quality care for everyone? Journalist Evan Urquhart expertly explains the issue in a thread on twitter reacting to the restrictions by comparing the restrictions to diabetes:

Imagine you have diabetes. There are five top diabetes specialists in your state, but you like most patients get your care from your primary care physician. The specialists provide better care, and their patients do better.

Now, imagine the impact of a regulation requiring all patients in your state to get diabetes treatment from one of those five. If you can’t see one of them your diabetes goes untreated.

If you’re an ordinary patient, the most likely outcome is that you lose treatment for your diabetes entirely. You don’t get improved care- there are still just five specialists, and they have no where near the capacity to see everyone with diabetes in the state.

The regulations would essentially end most adult trans care in the state, instituting a defacto ban for many trans patients. Individual private practice doctors, fertility clinics, community health clinics, and potentially even Planned Parenthood would likely not be able to offer care. The results would be devastating in underserved communities. Meanwhile, the few places that could comply with the regulations will likely see a ballooning of demand, leading to extensive waitlists.

If this sounds familiar to you, it should; Republicans have used these exact tactics to target abortion providers and shut down clinics. These types of restrictions, called “TRAP” laws, or “Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers,” would mandate things like “hospital admission privileges,” specialist forms, and waiting periods in order to access care. Even for the few clinics that were able to meet the new regulations, Republican legislators simply added more regulations until they were unable to provide care.

The regulations continue with further restrictions. See section C:

For transgender people under 21, there would be a mandatory six month waiting period with a requirement for extensive and comprehensive mental health evaluations. Those who are already receiving care are not opted out of this, meaning that it is likely that every trans person under 21 years old would be pulled off care. Similarly, people who move into the state from other states would face similar issues. Smaller clinics would likewise be uncertain of how to comply with this regulation and confirm the receipt of such care, leading to large disruptions of care.

Another section of the rules would institute an extensive surveillance system of transgender diagnoses in the state. They would require, for each diagnosis of gender dysphoria, a report from the healthcare provider within 30 days. These reports would also include the prescriptions, the age and assigned sex at birth of the individual, “change of treatment plan” and the reason why, and more.

See these restrictions here:

The end result of all of these restrictions will likely mean an end to most trans care, both for trans youth and trans adults, in the state. In 2023, two states tried similar restrictions. Attorney General Andrew Bailey of Missouri instituted trans restrictions at any age resulting in many people being kicked off of their medication. Trans adults scrambled across state lines to find alternate places to obtain care or were made to discontinued their care altogether, amounting to forced medical detransition. The effect of the rules were referred to as “horrifying” by local media outlets. These rules were overturned in court as uniquely discriminatory to transgender care.

Related

In Florida, a state law barred gender affirming care unless it was prescribed by a MD. This meant that no nurse practitioner could prescribe care in the state. The most common way in which transgender adults obtain care is through the use of nurse practitioners through clinics such as Planned Parenthood. This allows low-income trans people, trans people in rural areas, and trans people who cannot afford extensive appointments with specialists to still obtain their medication. After the Florida restriction went into place, trans adults were “blindsided” with the loss of care, according to the Associated Press.

Though DeWine likely drew up these restrictions in an attempt to stave off a veto override of the state’s gender affirming care ban for trans youth, many trans adults will likely see this scenario as worse than the original bill the governor vetoed. These restrictions will now go through an accelerated public comment period.

You can send in a comment on the rules here.

**************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Research/Study

Libs of TikTok anti-trans conspiracy theory accuses innocent person

Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik shared a meme on X suggesting that multiple recent school shooters have been transgender

Published

on

Graphic by Andrea Austria for Media Matters

By Ari Drennen | WASHINGTON – On the afternoon of January 4, Libs of TikTok creator Chaya Raichik shared a meme on X suggesting that multiple recent school shooters have been transgender.

Raichik added the claim — spreading rapidly among anti-trans accounts — that the alleged perpetrator of a shooting in an Iowa school that day identified as “genderfluid,” adding, “What’s going on?”

But one of the photos in the meme Raichik shared — supposedly of the shooter in the 2022 Uvalde, Texas, school shooting — was of an innocent woman. 

Far-right 4chan trolls had originally shared photos of an unrelated trans woman, identified by NBC News only as “Sam,” to claim that she had perpetrated the massacre. The actual shooter, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed on the scene by police. 

This is not the first time Libs of TikTok has spread demonstrably false anti-LGBTQ hoaxes. The account previously shared doctored footage to suggest that a drag performer exposed themself inappropriately to minors as well as a debunked hoax about schools providing kitty litter to students identifying as animals. And Media Matters has documented at least 35 instances where the targets of Libs of TikTok posts, including teachers, medical providers, and librarians, later received threats or harassment online. 

When the false Uvalde photo first circulated, Daily Wire personality Candace Owens, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones were among those who shared or referenced the claim.

Jones was previously sued for defamation for inaccurately accusing Massachusetts resident Marcel Fontaine of committing the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. In the suit, Fontaine argued that Jones’ publication InfoWars had published a since-deleted article linking Fontaine with the shooting, which led to threats and online ridicule. Although Fontaine has since died, the lawsuit remains ongoing.  

Trans people are no more likely than any other group to commit mass shootings, based on a review of more than 2,830 shootings with four or more victims between 2018 and 2023. The UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute estimates that just 0.6% of Americans over the age of 13 are transgender, and it reports that they are four times more likely to experience violent crimes than their cisgender peers.

More than 30 killings of trans people were documented in the U.S. in the past year. The victims include Meghan Riley Lewis, 57, of Bel Air, Maryland, who reports say was killed outside her home on December 27 by a delivery driver who shouted anti-trans comments at her before fatally shooting her. 

*****************************************************************************************

The preceding article was previously published by Media Matters for America and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Research/Study

No “Social Contagion” – Gender transition rates reach equilibrium

Despite claims of “exploding rates of being trans” & “rapid social contagion,” a new Swedish study shows an equilibrium of gender transitions

Published

on

Los Angeles Blade graphic

By Erin Reed | MISSOULA, MT. – In recent years, anti-trans lobbyists and politicians have claimed that there is an “explosion” in transgender identification, claiming that identification as transgender was due to an ongoing “social contagion.”

New York Times article reported on a “sharp rise” in transgender young people in the United States. In Montana, Senator Tom McGillvray stood and argued for a gender affirming care ban, citing the “explosion” in young trans people.

Even in the United States Congress, Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, representing the right-wing Christian Family Research Council, cited a “steep increase” in trans people, blaming the “increase” on social media. Now, a new study in Sweden appears to show gender transition rates appear to have leveled off among all age cohorts.

Rates of gender transition seem to have leveled off. (Kolk, Martin and Tilley, J. Lucas and von Essen, Emma and Moberg, Ylva and Burn, Ian, The Demography of Sweden’s Transgender Population – Patterns, Changes, and Sociodemographics (August 22, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4427508)

Social contagion theory claims that there is a “massive increase” in people identifying as transgender, and that this increase is due to “social contagion,” or people essentially “catching” being transgender from one another.

While the social contagion theory does not have evidence when it comes to transgender identification—for instance, most trans people experience gender dysphoria years before coming out—it is accurate that more transgender individuals are coming out now than in previous decades.

However, this new study suggests that the rates may now be stabilizing. The study, released as a preprint in the Social Science Research Network, looked at over 7,500 legal gender changes and dysphoria diagnoses in Sweden and determined that the rates “peaked in 2018, with no evidence of further increases” and have since stabilized.

This is also reflected in the Youth Risk Behavior Social Survey showing a modest decrease in trans identification after 2018 in the United States. The rates of transgender identification no longer see to be “exploding exponentially,” despite what anti-trans activists claim.

The leveling off is significant because it closely mirrors another major event where another once-discouraged trait became slowly accepted by society: left-handedness. In the early 1900s, the rates of left-handedness hovered between 3-4%. Left-handedness rates then “skyrocketed” to 12% where it has leveled off ever since.

This was, of course, not caused by a “massive social contagion” of left-handedness. Rather, increases in acceptance led to people feeling comfortable using their left hand. In the 1940s, anti-left-handedness researcher Abram Blau decried the “cultural influences” of left-handedness and the “progressive campaigns” of allowing the child “to be free to choose the side for himself.”

In an article released in 1979, Dr. Bernard McKenna said of the growth of left-handedness, “We used to call everybody a deviant who didn’t conform. We just eventually learned better. There was recognition by medical authorities that left-handedness was normal and that tying the hand up in a child often caused stuttering.”

Sound familiar?

You can see the growth in left-handedness here:

Many have hypothesized a similar trend with the prevalence of transgender individuals. In past decades, being identified as transgender was viewed extremely negatively. Young trans individuals often faced conversion therapy or institutionalization, while adults encountered substantial gatekeeping around care.

However, in the last decade, research highlighting the importance of allowing transgender individuals to transition has grown, alongside a significant increase in social acceptance. The apparent “increase” in transgender individuals can likely be largely attributed to the removal of many of these negative barriers. If this trend continues, we can anticipate a peak in gender transition rates as individuals previously barred from care gain access.

These rates should then stabilize, reflecting the actual proportion of transgender individuals in society. This study shows we may be seeing that stabilization now.

There are several key caveats to consider regarding this study. Firstly, it focuses solely on legal gender marker changes and diagnoses of dysphoria. Many transgender individuals do not receive a dysphoria diagnosis, and obtaining legal gender marker changes can be challenging.

Secondly, the study examines Sweden, where the barriers to accessing care differ from those in the United States. Consequently, the stabilization rates in both countries may vary as their populations respond to these different barriers.

Additionally, some people under the transgender umbrella may not pursue medical transition, struggle to obtain a dysphoria diagnosis, choose not to seek a diagnosis, or may not opt for legal gender marker changes. The “rate of transition” could vary among these groups. Finally, the increasing discrimination against transgender individuals likely influences the leveling off; the true prevalence rate might not have been reached yet.

With those caveats, this new study provides an important rebuttal to the idea that transgender identities are “spreading explosively” through “rapid onset gender dysphoria and social contagion.” Instead, transgender people appear to be able to come out more now than ever before, and the growth in transgender people coming out is something celebrate, not fear.

****************************************************************************

Erin Reed is a transgender woman (she/her pronouns) and researcher who tracks anti-LGBTQ+ legislation around the world and helps people become better advocates for their queer family, friends, colleagues, and community. Reed also is a social media consultant and public speaker.

Follow her on Twitter (Link)

Website here: https://www.erininthemorning.com/

******************************************************************************************

The preceding article was first published at Erin In The Morning and is republished with permission.

Continue Reading

Popular